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Before commencing the NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme, 42-year-old Faraza from Birmingham struggled with chronic back and leg pain following spinal surgery for Cauda Equina Syndrome.
Faraza said: “It was so debilitating. I felt low and very frustrated. The surgery was successful, but recovery was difficult – especially as I have no family in the UK and I’m the sole carer for my son. I put on weight because it was easier to get a takeaway or a ready-meal as I was so tired”.
During a health check-up, Faraza was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
“I was devastated but immediately motivated to improve my health, so I approached my GP who suggested the NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme to give me a chance at putting my type 2 diabetes into remission.”
Faraza described being apprehensive at first of the total diet replacement products during Phase 1 of the programme but found that she got used to them after a week or two: “I actually began to enjoy them and they’re really convenient, especially during the morning school run.”
Her particular favourite is the vanilla and almond shake – she wasn’t a huge fan of the soups to start with but liked them better by adding herbs and spices. She passed this wisdom on to her fellow participants and they’ve continued to sharing ideas and recipes on their group WhatsApp chat.
By the end of Phase 1, Faraza had lost 13kg – a whopping 16% of her starting weight.
During Phase 2 of the programme, Faraza slowly reintroduced meals every couple of weeks. To keep motivated and to help manage portion size, she bought a beautiful 8-inch plate for serving herself and her son at mealtimes: “I have changed my habits – I am more aware of food labels and want to pick healthier options. All these positive changes mean that I have continued to lose weight. At the end of Phase 2 and after just 18 weeks, I’ve lost 19% of my original body weight and now have a healthy BMI.
“I’ve also experienced a change in my mood, how I perceive myself, and my physical activity levels – all for the better! Before the programme, I was constantly tired, in pain and was unable to walk for longer than 15 minutes – but now I walk for up to 40 minutes.
“I’m also aware of the positive impact it has had on my son – he’s now more aware of food labels, motivated to make healthy food choices and inspired to learn how to cook. Knowing I’m a role model to him, encourages me to keep going and he is a tremendous support. Overall, it’s just been the best thing ever!”
Faraza would like to continue to lose weight, try new recipes and be able to share them with her group as well as her friends and family. She’d certainly like to achieve remission of her diabetes and is looking forward to the next phase of the programme.